Next Of Kin

Graveyard Shift…0246 hours

Weather: Cloudy/no moon

Location: Abandoned factory Hwy 666

Victim: Unknown/TBD

Suspect: N/A

“Caller reports seeing light, possibly flashlights, inside the abandoned factory on Hwy 666.”

“10-4. I’ll check it out.”

Radio crackles.

“I’m close, 2012. I’ll meet you there.”

“10-4, 2029.”

Cracked asphalt drive.

Tall weeds push through jagged openings.

Brick consumed by vegetation.

Still air.

Owl hoots in distance.

Rats scurry through honeysuckle.

Lopsided door.

One rusty hinge.

Concrete floor.

Broken glass.

Fallen wood.

Tangled metal.


More glass.

A hallway to the right.

Break room.

Spider webs.

Shipping and Receiving.

Double doors on left.


Tall and short.

Fat and skinny.

Steel dinosaurs.

Rust and oil stains.

Rat on table top.


Flashlight in distance.


Guns pointed.


Glass crunches.



Light unmoving.

Ease forward.

Water drips from above.

Owl hoots.

Flashlight closer.

Heart pounding.

Sweat at hairline.

Open doorway.


Light beam.

I to the right.

He to the left.



Owl hoots.


Light unwavering from floor.



Water dripping.

Rats scurrying.

Owl hooting.

Heart beating like drum.

Far away train whistle.

A man.

Overturned chair.

Dirt floor.

Dress shirt.


Tennis shoes.



A message.

“I love you, dear wife.”

“I’m sorry I failed you and our beautiful little girls.”

“Tell them I love them, too.”

“This is the only way.”

“Always remember the good days.”

0342 hours.

Cause of death…possible suicide.


Victim…unknown due to extent of injuries.

Next of kin…a wife and daughters….somewhere.

Owl hoots.

*Images by Maryland photographer, Sunday Kaminski.

6 thoughts on “Next Of Kin

  • William Simon

    Police officers often see things no one on this planet should *ever* see. What a tragedy.

  • Terry Odell

    For writers, it’s not what the characters do, it’s how they feel while doing it…thanks for putting us inside the cop’s head.

    Terry’s Place

  • Pete Floros

    I can relate to that!
    We had an old man, never married, no family or kin. He lived by himself in a two room shack off the beaten road. Virtually every weekend he would get drunk and call our office saying; “I’m gonna kill myself, this time I mean it!” We were obliged to send a Deputy. He had an old double barrel shotgun we knew of, very likely more hidden. No reason to take them away from him. It got old after months went by. One night as I came by the area, the dispatcher relayed the call, and I answered. I walked to the door. “Let me in old man. I’m tired. Let’s talk for a spell.” “I’ll do it Sheriff, you know I will,” he said. I could see him sitting behind a table from the window. The shotgun was between his legs. “Yeah, just let me in, let’s talk,” I said. Then the blast I will never forget.

  • Mel Parish

    So sad, but so exquisitely written – I could feel myself tense up as I read down the page -as Terry says, you certainly put us in the head of the cop.

  • Janis Patterson

    Oh, my goodness! What a moving and heart-wrenching story, so beautifully written. Almost too intense for this early hour of the morning.

    As writing, it is glorious.

    As reality, it is tragic. I agree with William Simon – police see things that no one should ever see. God bless them all.

  • Nike Chillemi

    How sad. I’m virtually speechless, and I’m usually not that.

Comments are closed.